Sustainable Cocoa Requires Biodiversity

Originating from the Amazon basin, cocoa’s natural habitat lies under the shade canopies of humid rainforests. Today, most of the world’s cocoa comes from small, sun-drenched farms in West Africa. Driven by increasing consumer demand, cocoa farming encroachment into forests and other lands, has caused deforestation and habitat degradation. A highly biodiverse cocoa farm has been shown to be drought, disease, and pest resilient, and produce higher yields.

Climate change, poor soil, overuse of fertilizers and pesticides, and a lack of natural inputs, such as shade and pollinators, are adding more pressure on cocoa farmers who are already experiencing declining cocoa yields. If you ask a farmer what an optimal cocoa farm looks like, they will describe it as having steady and optimum cocoa yields without the additional costs of purchasing inputs such as fertilizer or agrochemicals. To stop further encroachment into protected forest areas, cocoa farmers need to be equipped to increase the amount of cocoa they grow on the same, or even less, land.  

As part of our Forever Chocolate plan to make sustainable chocolate the norm, we are committed to be carbon and forest positive by 2025. At Barry Callebaut, biodiversity is a key driver to continue our progress towards becoming carbon and forest positive. By reducing our carbon footprint and achieving a deforestation free supply chain, we will help to preserve ecosystems and increase the long-term productivity of cocoa in environmentally suitable areas. Our commitment to biodiversity is focused on both on-farm and off-farm activities, including soil regeneration and the creation of carbon sinks, agroforestry and the regeneration of natural ecosystems.

To read the rest of the story, please go to: Barry Callebaut